Eustachian Tube Function – Feedback Pathways

Gas Supply, Demand and Middle Ear Gas Balance – Specific Aim 3

Protocol Description

This study will determine whether reflexes detect changes in eardrum position or middle ear gas pressure and then respond with changes in the ease by which the Eustachian tube is opened. Usually closed, the Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the nose and can be opened by contraction of a pair of small muscles. If the Eustachian tube does not open frequently enough, pressure in the middle ear will decrease, the eardrum will be pulled toward the middle ear causing hearing loss, and fluid will accumulate in the middle ear to stabilize its pressure. Some evidence suggests that the brain can detect and respond when the Eustachian tube does not open frequently enough. In this study, researchers will test this possibility.

Eligibility Criteria

Subject to exclusion criteria, the study is accepting healthy individuals of both genders, ages 18 to 50, who have no history of significant middle ear disease.
Males and Females: Age 18 to 50


The study requires insertion of a tube into one ear of each participant and a series of tests. The tests will be done over 5 visits that will take at least 3 hours each, with a minimum 2-day interval in between. Once the series of tests are done, the tube is removed and participants will return for another 1 to 8 visits for researchers to monitor eardrum healing.
Visits: 6 for screening and tests, and up to 8 follow-up visits
Duration: Up to 6 months

Status: Open to Enrollment

Source(s) of Support

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Primary Investigator

Cuneyt M. Alper, MD

Contact Information

For more information about the study or enrollment, please contact:
Julie Banks, Research Coordinator